Conversation with the Editor-In-Chief (AKA my wonderful other half) on the way back from Leeds on Thursday:

“Well, VLURE were good just now… I’m looking forward to Duvet, Hank and Umarells on Saturday, so at least I’ll get a night off tomorrow… oh look, Yabba are playing tomorrow… but I won’t go, three nights on the bounce is a bit excessive, even for me”

“You know you’ll go, don’t you?”

“No, no I won’t… although they WERE awesome when we saw them supporting Enola Gay at Yes last year, weren’t they?”

“You KNOW you’ll go, don’t you?”

“I won’t – I’m going to send myself to an early grave, going to so many gigs – I’ll have a night off”

Morgan Freeman voice: “Dear Listener, he did NOT have a night off. He purchased a ticket as soon as they got home.”

And so, The Humble Reviewer (yes, I KNOW it’s a rubbish name for a pub) screeches in from work, throws down some sustenance and heads off out for Oldham Street and the joys of The Castle Hotel (well, I HAVE to check out the lighting in preparation for Duvet et al on Saturday – it would be unprofessional not to). Thanks to an unexpected lack of diesel crisis on the way in, I barely make it in time to drag out the camera and set my recorder before Pray for Mojo take to the stage. Here we go…

Pray For Mojo

This is the third time I’ve seen Pray for Mojo and they seem to get better and tighter with each subsequent viewing. Their most recent outing (for me at least) was at the Band on The Wall with Deh Yeh and Bleach Boy and they will be sharing a bill with Dirt at The Peer Hat on the 14th of April – definitely one not to be missed. Describing themselves as “A square shaped psychedelic outfit from NW England” (well, Warrington to be precise) Pray for Mojo have become an increasingly familiar sight on the North West circuit off the back of furious gigging in support of their 2022 “Pray for Mojopia” album.

Also describing themselves as “Merging psychedelia with a range of sounds including garage rock, doom, prog and more”, Greg Dixon and Christian Monaghan take on guitar and vocal duties, ably complemented by Craig Harman on bass and Matthew Earl on drums. At the risk of plagiarising myself, if you haven’t heard them before, think Goat, Queens of The Stone Age, King Gizzard or The Osees for your starter for ten, Cambridge.

After set openers “Rickety” and “Waiting for The Why”, the crowd are informed we are in the presence of Pray for Mojo, that they’re on the Internet and that they’re here to play a few songs for us (always a good start). In response to a slightly muted acknowledgement from the crowd, some of whom are still wandering in, the next attempt is “Parking here’s a joke, innit?” which breaks the ice nicely. As the set progresses, we’re double-dared to visit the merch stand where they even have X Large tees if we need them. Your humble reviewer’s insatiable need for tees is sadly tempered by a recent email from Octopus Energy reminding him that his laptop is using FAR too much leccy in the production of gig reviews, so my debit card will remain in my pocket on this occasion, sadly.

Pray For Mojo don’t mess about – they deliver their multi-faceted set with energy, humour, heads-down enthusiasm and frequent guitar solos, none of which are a bad thing at all. Set closer “Salvador” is by now a familiar song and I find myself mouthing the chorus (AND the chune), so I know these guys are worming their way into my subconscious slowly. I ended my previous review with the words, “Pray for Mojo are a band whose progress is to be monitored with interest. I’m glad I listened properly second time around. I suspect there may be a third”. Dear reader, there was indeed a third and I look forward to the fourth. Check them out (as nobody probably says anymore).

Pray For Mojo played: Rickety, Waiting for the Why, Great Wave, Weird, K2O, Oh Me Oh My Oh Mine and Salvador.


Regular readers of my output will be pleased to know that I have come across yet ANOTHER new genre, and one that seems to be pretty exclusive to Yabba – it’s “Sleaze Disco”. This intrigues me greatly, so further investigation is clearly in order. The current Yabba line-up has only been in place for just over a year with founding members Josh (vocals) and Max (drums) having previously worked together in assorted incarnations for the past seven. Most of them come from (and all currently reside in) Dumfries and Galloway, and are currently putting the finishing touches to an EP that will see the light of day sometime this year, courtesy of Nice Swan Records. In the meantime, you can enjoy their output in the form of current single “Get By”, described by the band as, “The song that Stone Cold Steve Austin wished he had, it can be used like C4 is used to blast the doors off a bank and carries the same burden shared with the common people in the UK”. Compromise is not a word to be found in Yabba’s vocabba.

Yabba define what they do as “Big Music” and as soon as they hit the stage, you can see and hear why. Everything about them is full on, both visually, orally and aurally. If you’ve seen them before, you’ll know that a feature of their sets is a tendency to undress as the evening proceeds, and tonight is no exception. Max takes to the stage in a warm-looking hoody bearing an “Obey” logo (he won’t get any arguments from me on that score) that you just KNOW isn’t going to make it past a few songs. Elias on bass starts the evening in an Enola Gay tee, possibly a remnant of their support dates with Enola Gay back in March 22 and there are number of these evident in the crowd too. I had one too (a thing of beauty), but the print came off in the first wash, so clearly, he looked after his a little better than I did mine. Stage left Nick is on keyboard duty, staring off into the middle distance and not getting too involved in the shouty undressing shenanigans taking place centre stage. At least not YET. Between Nick and Josh is guitarist Corey who is deals up a ferocious racket, reminiscent of Enola Gay and any number of angry Drum ‘n’ Bass/Jungle outfits for the younger members of the crowd and the rawer elements of the Run DMC, The Beastie Boys, Rage Against the Machine and Killing Joke at their darkest for the likes of me.

There’s no gradual build up with these chaps – from the outset, Yabba deliver a full-on, in-yer-face litany of intensity and the crowd, who know exactly what to expect, throw themselves around gleefully. Josh’s hoodie disappears at some point, heralding the onset of vest mode, as the pace of the music veers between merely manic and downright frantic. He screams into his mic as Max barely keeps it just about under control from the drum kit. It’s not all about frantic noise though, as Elias, Korey and Nick show themselves to be talented musicians when allowed to emerge from behind the chaos to deliver the set’s more sedate numbers.

There’s not much in the way of between-song banter, but in this case, it’s no bad thing – in some ways it would break the spell if Yabba pointed you in the direction of their merch stand. The most we get is the into to “Yabba”, which is dedicated to, “All the women in the building”. By this time, it’s taps off all roond (yes, even Nick) from the Doonhamers and what at firstseems like an innocuous guitar intro again gives way to Josh’s scarce-contained rage – you have to wonder where he gets his energy from, along with how he plans to repair his vocal cords after the set. Set closer Semper gives the crowd one last chance to batter themselves into a frenzy and they’re more than happy to take the opportunity. This has been a fine night indeed, and I’m glad I decided not to be sensible and have a night off.

What I REALLY like about Yabba is that they somehow make mayhem accessible – if you’re lucky enough to see them perform, you’ll see all the elements of their music combine to deliver something very special. Even if they might be at what you would consider to be the extreme end of your musical spectrum, go see them anyway. You’ll find yourself nodding along from the outset, then by the end of the set, you’ll be throwing yourself around like a maniac, without really having an idea as to how you got from one state to the other. If there’s ANY way in which you can get yourselves to The Parish in Huddersfield on Friday the 24th of March, with the incredible Priestgate and WaxTreeCast also on the bill, I absolutely implore you to do so.

Yabba Dabba Doo indeed.

Yabba played: BJs, Get By, Maniac, Animals, Skulk, Jawbone, Split, Heat, Yabba and Semper